“Believe me, this Astra definitely has what it takes to give the VW Golf a run for its money.”

With the dark emission clouds still hovering over the ‘Golf’ course, there’s a new game in town.

This week, as Volkswagen announced its plans to refit thousands of its vehicles following the diesel emissions scandal, a new ‘Onstar’ was being born not so far away in Germany across in the Opel factory.

The Volkswagen Golf has had the lion’s share of the family compact car category for the last number of years, but the new Opel Astra might just be the one to take over its crown.

The company says the Astra is practically all new apart from a few screws left over from the outgoing model, and it comes with the latest economical engines, technology and safety features.

On the international launch in Bratislava this week, I got behind the wheel of it and, I have to admit, I was blown away by it.

Apart from its new stylish looks with ‘floating’ roofline and honeycomb-like grille, the highlight for me was the interior design and the company’s new ‘Onstar’ communications system.

Thankfully, Opel has decided to ditch the button-factory dash that made the interior such an eyesore, for a neat and easy-to-use touchscreen.

The new Astra will also be the first Opel model that will be available with OnStar communications system from launch.

OnStar is what the company refers to as your motoring ‘Guardian Angel’ during everyday journeys. It is basically a call centre in Germany that caters for your every need – on your short trip to work, or long-haul journey across Europe.

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